Tiny-Small refuses to learn her ABC’s She’s got better stuff to do y’all (sorry, I’ve been reading Southern writers and it rubs off, you know?) She has bigger and better plans that don’t include reading. She’s going to be so rich and so famous that she’ll be able to pay other people to read for her. Apparently, she’s got this all figured out.
OK, maybe she doesn’t have some evil master plan, but still…she is laughing at my efforts to teach her the ABC’s. Wait, no, she’s not even laughing. That’s how much she doesn’t care about letters right now. She’s completely indifferent. Oh, she sings the songs and can spell B-I-N-G-O as well as the rest of her peers and she can sing her ABC’s complete with mushing the middle into something that sounds like “m&mespeas.” She likes the singing. She just doesn’t want to have to look at the letters. They offend her sensibilities for some reason.
I, on the other hand, am a slightly off-balanced ABC tyrant from the third dimension of Tiger Mom land. I’ve posted three sets of ABC learning tools in her room. Her room is not that big, you guys. It looks like someone vomited the alphabet all over her walls. It’s like the bathroom of the ABC preschool bar up in there. Never mix your drinks: Milk and juice, shaken or stirred, will make you barf before snack time is over. Apparently, having the ABC’s in every direction is like an assault on her mind, or at least on her aesthetic. Which I have to say is something she values very highly.
It’s all me. I’m the one with the problem here. I keep thinking Tiny-Small needs to read before she is five. I feel a sense of panic when I think about it. What if she is behind her peers FOREVER and she can’t get the education she needs to get a good job and afford to live or be happy or eat food…ramble, ramble, stress, stress, blow this out of proportion until you can’t stop laughing at how ridiculous you are. What if she doesn’t have any accomplishments that her grandparents can brag about? I feel a shortness of breath coming on. Then I remember that 5 is like over 1.5 years away. We do have time here. Then, I also remember that we are maybe, probably going to homeschool her. So, if she doesn’t read until 15 we’ll still be OK. I mean, we do have a basement she can live in, right? Seriously, because if all of the homeschool rumors are true we’ll be lucky if she learns to tie her shoes or how to make friends or how to not drool on herself in social situations anyway…. The things people say about homeschooled kids is pretty insulting and silly, but I try not to judge people for saying them. OK, I totally judged them because they say things that aren’t true or based on any research, but I am pretty ridiculous sometimes too (see beginning of this paragraph) so I can’t complain too loudly. At least, I probably shouldn’t. Anyway, a lot of kids who went to school still live in their parents basements these days and some of them have poor social skills which means it was like they were homeschooled anyway, at least according to societies skewed views about homeschooling. So, I guess learning to read early, or at home, might not even matter THAT much. Plus, they do have Velcro shoes now and Tiny-Small can always make friends over the Internet just like the rest of us do. I mean that happens all the time these days too.
In short, my self-induced ABC-panic may or may not be warranted. I probably won’t know for sure until Tiny-Small is 27 and asks me to fill out her job application because she can’t read the questions. Until then, I guess I will ease up on the ABC-pressure-cooker I have created. It’s like the preschool boiler room up in here. I’ll just keep reminding myself that 1.5 years is enough time to teach someone to read. Hopefully.
Of course, no matter what I do she’ll always be behind those kids that started reading at 6 months old or at birth, which I hear is happening more and more these days. Something about taking the right vitamins and wearing giant headphones on your stomach during pregnancy is producing a super elite race of infant scholars. Tiny-Small and I are only human and possibly average humans at that (as my friend Roberta says “there is a bell curve for a reason”). Besides, all of these ABC drill sessions are really starting to interfere with our piano playing, painting, pretending we understand quantum physics, and advocating for world peace. We really need to embrace our priorities and stop comparing our weaknesses to other people strengths. At least I do. Tiny-Small doesn’t seem to care about what other kids are doing at all…unless it involves slides and dolls and flower picking capabilities.
I have to stop reading Facebook status updates about children with superior alphabet skills. I have to stop worrying about their gluten-free diets, expensive preschool enrollment, and brain enhancing vegetarian brownies too. I have to accept the fact that I am never going to teach Tiny-Small mandarin or be awesome in all ways possible. It’s just hard to remember sometimes. I mean, we all want to be awesome in all ways possible, especially when it comes to parenting. Some of us are just hyperventilating about it more than others. At least I have found something to be above average in, right?
I can find a silver lining in anything if I try hard enough.